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Jeremiah, larger than life

During his lifetime, the prophet Jeremiah achieved very little that a cold-eyed observer could legitimately call “success.” In a way, God is already preparing him for a life of “failure” while still a youth. Regarding the people he’s being sent to, God warns, “They will fight against you” (1:19).

And fight, they do. The prophet is denounced, ridiculed, slandered, arrested, beaten, and basically abused in a number of ways. Not many people at all listen to him. Later in his life, he and his friend Baruch are kidnapped and taken to Egypt by a group hoping to flee the wrath of the Babylonians.

So Jeremiah lives a life without much success, objectively speaking—and then he dies!

But if people don’t listen to him during his own lifetime, they really begin to in the centuries after. He gains almost legendary status. In 2 Maccabees, he’s credited with nothing less than saving some of the most holy artifacts, including the ark of the covenant itself. It is said he climbs up Mount Nebo, (where Moses gets his look at the promised land) and hides the ark in a cave. And just as with the final resting place of the lawgiver himself (Dt 34:6), no one knows where Jeremiah stashes it.

That’s not the only tale told about him. Jeremiah is included in other fantastic stories. And speaking of fantastic stories…our next Bible study will be on the book of Revelation. We’ll be using Bruce Metzger’s Breaking the Code to help us along.

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